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Beautifying the Treasures: Common Enhancement Methods

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Human has been enhancing treasures to improve their appearance and wearability since centuries ago. Some methods have been used for centuries, while others only appeared recently. Even till today, humans are experimenting with new ways, good and bad from an energy point of view, to beautify treasures.


In general, the type of treatment chosen is based on the gem type and the desired effect. Even with centuries of existence and usage, the general consumers remains relatively unaware of these practices


Common Ways to Enhance Treasures


In short, there are 5 common ways to enhance treasures, in particular gemstone:

  1. Heat Treatment

  2. Radiation

  3. Oiling

  4. Dyeing & Sealing

  5. Lead Glass Filling

Heat Treatment

Heating is the most common way to beautify treasures. It intensifies the colour of relatively dull and/or pale-looking treasures to make them attractive. What's worst is that it resembles closely to what happens in the nature, thus it is difficult to identify using naked-eyes.


A microscopic examination is usually done to search for and reveal evidence of heating. However, such process requires a keen and experienced eye for some signs does not reveal themselves easily.



Source: Bing.com


Radiation

Radiation enhancements is another method which "copies" what happens in nature. During formation, radioactive elements affect gems and crystal. This does not mean that these gems are harmful. However, some may choose to stay away from such treasures. Therefore, if you prefer to stay away do note that blue topaz are usually irradiated before heating to create a stable blue colour.


Oiling

A common method used on emeralds and gems which have internal fractures. Oiling is done to such gems to fill these fractures with substance with similar optical properties to make these tiny holes and lines "invisible". This method increases the clarity and brilliance of such treasures and make them more appealing to treasure owners both emotionally and monetary.



Source: Bing.com


Dyeing & Sealing

Dyeing are commonly done to treasures such as turquoise and lapis lazuli to make them close to the desired tone and colour. Dyeing is also used on treasures like howlite to make them look like turquoise. If you're buying howlite as howlite, it is totally fine, but if you wanted a turquoise and got a turquoise-coloured howlite instead, this is outright no no.


Source: Bing.com


Apart from dyeing, sealants like paraffin wax are often used on porous materials such as turquoise to provide a surface coating to protect the treasure. However, do note that the sealants act as a protective layer, or protective helmet or cover. Therefore, the layer is usually very thin.


Lead Glass Filling

Commonly used in rubies, sapphires, and diamonds to improve their clarity, lead glass-filled stones are created by taking very low quality treasure that could not be used in jewellery, fill it with lead glass and make it transparent and cuttable. The end product is often put in expensive-looking jewellery and caused consumers to think that they got a bargain. However, lead-glass filled stones are often less durable and more prone to wear and tear; and are often irreparable after damaged. Oh, and by the way, GIA classifies lead-glass rubies as " A Manufactured Product".



Source: GIA.com, Taken by Elizabeth Schrader







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